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Report No. 14

45. Assam

1. The Judicial Service.-

Although the High Court of Assam was established in 1948, yet until August 1952, there was no separate judicial service in that State. The civil judiciary was not separated from the executive and judicial duties were discharged by executive officers. By notification No. JJD/50/ 51/23, dated 25th August, 1952, the State Judicial Service (Senior) was constituted. The State had however to wait for nearly two more years before by notification No. LJJ. 84/54/168, dated 9th April, 1954, the State Judicial Service (Junior) was established-and the process of separating the civil judiciary from the executive was completed.

2. Senior Branch.-

The senior branch of the Service is divided into two Grades; Grade I comprises the Registrar of the High Court, Legal Remembrancer and the District Judges and Grade II is made up of Additional District Judges. Officers in Grade I are in the time scale of Rs. 850-50-1,500 and those in Grade II in the scale of Rs. 800-50-1,150. The strength of the cadre in 1955 was:

Grade I (Senior)

Registrar, High Court


Legal Remembrancer


District Judges


Grade II (Senior)

Additional District Judges


(There were also three temporary posts outside the cadre.)

Under the rules not more than one-third of the posts in Grade I (Senior) may be filled by direct recruitment and the rest by promotion from Grade II (Senior) or from Grade I of the State Judicial Service (Junior).

3. Junior Branch.-

The Judicial Service (Junior) is also divided into two grades-Grade I consisting of the Subordinate Judges and the Deputy Registrar, High Court, and Grade II consisting of the Munsifs and the Assistant Registrar, High Court. Officers in Grade I are in the time-scale of Rs. 500- 50/2-800 and those in Grade II in the scale of Rs. 250-25- 300-25--400-EB-25-650- EB-25-750. In 1955 the strength of the cadre was:

Grade I (Junior)

Subordinate Judges (and Assistant Sessions Judges)


Deputy Registrar, High Court


Grade II (Junior)

Munsifs (including two leave reserve posts and one Law Assistant to the

Legal Remembrancer)


Assistant Registrar, High Court


4. Recruitment rules (Lack of training).-

The Assam Judicial Service (Junior) Rules, 1954, provide for the absorption of those members of the Assam Civil Service who were recruited for the purpose of the judicial branch and an option was given to the law graduates in the executive civil service to enter the Judicial Service. Subject to the above exceptions, the maximum age-limit for entry into Grade II of the junior cadre of the service is twenty-eight years; the limit may be relaxed in favour of a scheduled caste or scheduled tribe candidate or a lawyer of three years' standing.

Practice at the bar is not, however, a necessary qualification for recruitment to the judicial service. It is sufficient if a candidate is a graduate in law or a barrister-at-law. Although the practice of recruiting fresh law graduates as munsifs is to be found in other States also, yet singularly enough unlike the other States where a similar system of recruitment prevails, the rules contain no provision for training the new recruits before they are called upon to try cases. In our view, this position needs to be set right immediately.

5. For direct appointment in Grade I (Junior) a candidate must be a law graduate or a barrister-at-law with seven years' standing at the Bar. Direct recruitment is limited to one-third of the total strength of the cadre.

6. Tribal and non-tribal areas.-

The population of the State according to the census of 1951 is 90,43,707 distributed over an area of 50,043 square miles. The non-tribal areas of the State comprise the two divisions of Lower Assam and Upper Assam, each of which is a district judgeship. The District Judge, Lower Assam Districts, exercises jurisdiction over the districts of Goalpara, Kamrup, Darrung, Nowgong and the area constituting the municipality of Shillong. We were told that considerable difficulty is being experienced by the fact that in the Shillong District two sets of laws are in force-the ordinary civil and criminal laws within the municipal limits of Shillong and the special laws applicable to the tribal areas in the territory outside the municipal limits.

This anomaly should be examined and steps taken to alter the territorial jurisdiction of regular courts. The Upper Assam district- judgeship comprises the districts of Sibsagar, Lakhimpur and Cachar. Areas specified in Parts A and B of the table appended to the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution are the tribal areas.

Reform of Judicial Administration Back

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